BuzzFeed reporter Michael Hastings had a small amount of a chemical consistent with methamphetamine use in his system when he died in a fiery collision, but it was unlikely that it contributed to his death, Los Angeles coroner’s officials said Tuesday.
"Toxicology shows a small amount of amphetamine in the blood, consistent with possible intake of methamphetamine many hours before death, unlikely to have an intoxicative effect at the time of the accident," Hastings' autopsy report said.
A small amount of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, was also found in Hastings' system, but officials say neither the amphetamine nor the THC was likely a factor in the crash.
Hastings died June 18 in L.A. After being seen driving at high speeds through Hollywood, he crashed into a tree and died in a fiery wreck on Highland Avenue south of Melrose Avenue, according to his autopsy report.
Members of Hastings' family had arrived from New York the previous day to try getting Hastings to go to rehab, according to his autopsy. His autopsy report also says that he was also believed to be using the hallucinogen DMT, though a toxicology report failed to detect any.
Officials were told he had smoked marijuana the previous night. Hastings had a medical marijuana card that was found in his wallet by officials, with the belief that it was due to post-traumatic stress disorder from being a war journalist stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the report.
Officials were told that those close to Hastings believed he had been sober for the past 14 years, but that he had started using again in the month prior to his death, according to the autopsy report, shortly after moving to California from New York. Hastings was also in a collision with a pole years ago while using Ritalin recreationally, entering rehab around 1999, according to the report.
One person whose name was redacted from the autopsy report told officials that Hastings "believed he was 'invincible,' believing he could jump from a balcony and would be okay."
Hastings was 33 years old. His official cause of death was "traumatic injuries," with officials noting that carbon monoxide levels indicate that he died instantly, with all burns happening after his death. The autopsy was conducted on June 20.
Hastings was best known for writing an article in Rolling Stone on U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, "The Runaway General," that led to McChrystal's resignation as U.S. commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan. The article included negative comments by McChrystal and his aides about members of the Obama administration, including Vice President Joe Biden. The article won Hastings a George Polk Award.
Read the full autopsy report below. (Warning: Contains graphic details.)
This story has been updated and clarified to reflect accurately the specifics of the autopsy report's toxicology results.